The “root canal” is the natural cavity that exists at the center of your tooth and along the center of each root, which is filled with pulp that provides feeling and nutrition to the tooth. When this area becomes seriously decayed or infected, the pulp needs to be removed to avoid worsening of the condition or allow the abscess to heal. The root canal procedure is the process of removing the infected pulp or nerve, shaping the canals and replacing the nerve with a specialized filling material in the canals. This Process is sometimes the only way to prevent the body from rejecting the infected tooth and thus save a tooth.
The pulp is the area of your tooth which most easily becomes infected. When it starts to break down due to decay, bacteria can grow within the chamber, which then causes infections and abscesses. This results in a variety of problems, including swelling and pain in the face, neck, and head. Bone loss in the jaw around the tooth and drainage problems where pus can leak into the gums and the skin. The infection from the tooth can spread to other areas and become life threatening.
During a root canal, the dentist will examine your teeth to determine the location and cause of the infection and will discuss your options with you. This usually requires an X-ray. In general, root canals can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, though for some people sedation dentistry may be an option. Some root canals can be more complicated due to the anatomy/shape of the roots or calcium deposits present, this may require a referral to the endodontist.
After ensuring you are thoroughly numb, the dentist will drill into your tooth to remove the infected material and thoroughly clean the area. Depending on the severity of the infection, a filling or crown may then be applied to cover the repaired tooth or replacement options such as dental implants may be indicated. Dr. Lowery is an expert cosmetic dentist and the only accredited dentist of her type in Austin and can provide you the very best options for repairing your tooth following the procedure.
A root canal is very safe and common and can be performed with a minimum of discomfort. If you are experiencing toothache or discomfort in your mouth, you should have it checked out immediately. Call our office or schedule an appointment online today.
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